Nurmagomedov (28-0) will defend his 155-pound championship in opposition to Justin Gaethje (22-2) at UFC 254 on Oct. 24 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. He was scheduled to face Ferguson (25-4) in April in Brooklyn, in a struggle the UFC has tried to guide 5 occasions prior to now 5 years. Nurmagomedov was pulled from the bout as a consequence of journey restrictions associated to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Gaethje beat Ferguson in Could.
The matchup between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson has turn out to be essentially the most cursed struggle in UFC historical past. In an unique interview with ESPN, Nurmagomedov admitted he believes the potential of a struggle is over.
“No one could be the identical for a very long time — sooner or later, someone gonna beat you, one thing gonna occur, God would not give no person the facility, response, psychological, one stage, all the time,'” Nurmagomedov mentioned. “Someday you are going to go down and his day come. It was Could. Tony Ferguson is completed now. He is gonna come again, and somebody gonna beat him once more, I imagine. As a result of whenever you take harm like this, you will by no means going to be the identical. By no means. Even should you’re Tony Ferguson.”
Ferguson, 36, has not fought since he misplaced to Gaethje through TKO within the fifth spherical. He has continued to speak a couple of potential struggle in opposition to Nurmagomedov in interviews and on social media, and UFC president Dana White not too long ago instructed Sports activities Illustrated he’d be prepared to guide the matchup a sixth time if it made sense.
Nurmagomedov inspired Ferguson to struggle his teammate Islam Makhachev (18-1) subsequent week at UFC 254. Makhachev was speculated to struggle Rafael dos Anjos, however dos Anjos pulled out after testing constructive for COVID-19. Makhachev’s supervisor Ali Abdelaziz, who additionally represents Nurmagomedov, has supplied Ferguson $100,000 to take the struggle, and one other $100,000 if he wins.
“Proper now, [Ferguson] have alternative,” Nurmagomedov mentioned. “He can come to Battle Island and struggle Islam. Islam have six-fight win streak, he’s virtually within the Prime 10. Why not? Why he do not wish to take this struggle? UFC goes to provide him good cash. Ali goes to provide him $100,000 and $100,000. After this, possibly he can struggle for the title if he win. However I believe his time is completed.”